Kingdom, the final part of the Generations War For Cybertron trilogy, takes us away from Micromasters as filling the $10-ish price point, and brings us the Core Class. Essentially Legends, except just a little bit smaller, because of course they are. The first assortment consists of an Optimus Prime (because of course it does), Rattrap, and the Fossilizer-adjacent figure Vertebreak. Oh, yeah. Kingdom is bringing back the Beast Wars also, if you missed that part of the story. Today I’ve just got Optimus Prime and Rattrap prepared, and Vertebreak will follow a little later.
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Rattrap was a much bigger surprise than I expected. The robot looks really good. It’s not dead-on for the old cartoon model, but it does a really good job at getting in the right neighborhood. There’s elements of it that kind of feel like a fusion of the cartoon appearance, with that of the original toy (which sadly I didn’t have on hand for photography because I’ve no idea where my original Rattrap is at the moment) just minus the auto-transformation mechanism. It’s got a look that I can really get behind without any feelings of it seeming wrong. And it’s not even something I clearly realized before trying to write about it; it doesn’t feel like trying to update or reimagine Rattrap – it just feels like Rattrap.
The transformation necessitates some weird jointing. The shoulder joints point forward, because they’re attached to the rat-skin wings rather than directly to the torso. It’s not the ideal arrangement, but it works well enough. The worst part of it would probably be the shoulder joints being hinged (in a way not useful for added poseability) but not clicking or tabbing in place where they’re supposed to be for robot mode. It’s not automatically a problem, but if the joint tension is greater than the tension of the hinge, you might be dislocating the shoulders as you try to do normal posing.
The lower legs also have an extraneous joint in the middle of the shin. I haven’t had to deal very much with it getting out of position to any great degree while trying to pose normally, but it can make it a little less stable to try to dial in a precise stance or positioning you’re looking for. Despite that, Rattrap can be convinced do a one-leg stance with no support. That’s good, too, because the only stand port on the toy is fully blocked by the backpack in robot mode, and trying to move the backpack out of the way to use it will take the arms out of place with it. Good planning, there.
Rattrap’s head sculpt is really good. It’s a great job at capturing Rattrap’s TV appearance, and might be the best such attempt so far. If we were to have a Masterpiece Rattrap exist eventually, it might get a little closer, but this is more than good enough for what I want.
Rattrap’s transformation is surprisingly complex, and almost feels like something you’d expect of a Deluxe. It gets easier to go through after the first couple times, but it started out being really confusing and a bit impenetrable, because I simply didn’t expect a toy this small to work this way. It’s really satisfying to do now that I know all the little details that need to be attended to. And I’m sure down the road when I haven’t transformed this for at least several weeks, it’ll go right back to being bafflingly difficult for such a small toy!
The rat mode is about the size of a (smallish) real-life mouse, and it is pretty much a statue. The ankle ball joints can still be used, so Rattrap can rear up slightly – just barely enough to balance, in my findings – but it’ll never get anywhere near actually standing upright. And there’s no other jointing or engineering to support the attempt anyway. That’d be ridiculous to expect at this scale. It’s reasonably nice for a beast mode, though. It takes a more realistic aim instead of trying to faithfully reproduce what Rattrap’s beast mode looked like in 1996 CGI, and I don’t have much issue with that choice. I kind of wish it could do something, but apart from the unreasonable goal of standing fully upright and not looking like a disaster, I don’t know what I’d actually want of it.
Click here to go to the full Kingdom Rattrap gallery, featuring nearly 80 photos – way more than I could include here!
I’ll also go ahead and add that it feels really weird to have primary use of ball joints in Transformers again. Micromasters used them, sure, but anything large enough to be a figure on its own had an array of swivels and universal joints and such ever since Siege started. It feels weird to have the “fuzziness” of ball joint-based articulation back again, and I’m not sure if I like it or not.
I am sure though that I like both of these figures a lot. Rattrap is fantastic, and builds up a lot of confidence for this go with revisiting the Beast Wars characters. I was not a fan of the attempts made in 2013 and 2014. But the modern design team seems like they might have gotten it right, so I’m all up for checking out some of the bigger toys. But even Optimus Junior turned out unexpectedly nice, for what it is. The return of the Legends-size figures seems to be off to a pretty good start, and next time we’ll look at the last one, which is a bridge between this price point, and the Fossilizers that’ll be residing in the Deluxe range.